School Committee Chair refuses to speak with Acton Forum

Amy Krishnamurthy, the newly elected Chair of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee (SC), has flatly refused to speak to Acton Forum editor Allen Nitschelm, after repeated attempts to contact the Chair and ask some simple questions about the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Glenn Brand, effective June 30, 2017. The statement released by the SC indicates that Brand is leaving on amicable terms after "educational and operational philosophies" were found incompatible.

To read the School's terse statement, click here: http://www.actonforum.com/story/glenn-brand-resigns-ab-school-district

Really? After three years on the job, this suddenly pops up, and the School Committee Chair refuses to take a phone call about it?

According to the email statement, Brand will be paid a full year's salary, through June, 2018, which is approx. $200,000. Does this sound familiar to Acton Forum readers? How many people are on the School payroll but are not performing duties anymore?

I am pretty clear on my understanding of the conduct that public figures should display when dealing with the media. You don't stonewall. You don't refuse to speak to reporters. You are not supposed to "control the news." This isn't a dictatorship.

There is no requirement that you answer specific questions, but a politician's non-answer might provide information that readers (and voters) want to know. But refusing to even speak and listen to the questions would be like the President refusing to hold press conferences or meet with any reporters. It is undemocratic and does not respect the role that the media plays in our political system.

I expressed my objection to Ms. Krishnamurthy's refusal to speak with me in the strongest possible terms, with no success. I wonder if the public is fine with allowing the School Committee to officially and willfully hide what it is doing from public scrutiny.

It is possible getting answers to my questions would either make me feel better about this situation or would help me uncover whatever is being hidden by this secretive, power-hungry group we call the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee. Refusing to even listen to questions is worse than I thought and I'd say perhaps the Acton community and Acton taxpayers have been hoodwinked again. We just approved the School's 2017-2018 operating budget at Town Meeting and this news comes out now? When did they first know that Brand wasn't coming back and why was this information kept from the public until both Town Meetings had been held?

That's just two of the many questions I have, and now I have a whole lot more.

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Comments

Please, Amy Krishnamurthy. Please explain.

Like many other people in Acton, I supported Amy Krishnamurthy for School Committee. Given my high expectations for the School Committee, the precipitous dismissal of Superintendent Brand so soon after Town Meeting was puzzling. Awarding him an extra year's salary was dismaying. Both of those decisions need full public discussion. I certainly hope that Amy Krishnamurthy will see the value of fully explaining the Committee's puzzling decisions, and will address the questions that the Acton Forum (and many others) want answered. The School Committee and its Chair, Amy Krishnamurthy, owes us that.